By Jodi Marze, Lifestyles Editor
The Picayune Item
Mildred Mitchell, child nutrition manager of Roseland Park Elementary, is this week’s Picayune Item Super Senior.
An employee of the Picayune School System for 30 years, Mitchell is recognized both inside and outside of Roseland Park Elementary School walls as an exceptional human being who loves the children who come through her lunchline as if they were her own. This fact was demonstrated by a letter written to Picayune School Superintendent Dean Shaw, in June, by Tammy Dauzat, grandmother of Colin Buckley, now a first grader at the school.
In her letter dated June 6th, 2012, Dauzat wrote:
“For thirty years, Picayune School has been blessed with a lady full of inspiration, devotion and love for not only her job, but her babies. That is how Mildred Mitchell refers to the children she feeds each day at the Roseland Park Cafeteria.
“Her love and devotion for her job not only shows in her performance each day, but in her desire to love and inspire each child.”
Dauzat had attended the Kindergarten Graduation of her grandson, Colin Buckley, when her Mitchell caught her attention.
“He was so excited to see Mildred there,” she said, “he hugged her as if she was one of our family members.”
To Buckley as well as many other children who pass through her lunch line, Mitchell is like family. Many call her granny and that is just fine with her.
Dauzat wrote, “I had tears in my eyes just watching this unfold. I asked her how she knew my grandson and she replied, ‘He is one of my babies.’”
She was so impressed with meeting Mitchell and with her love and devotion for the children, Dauzat felt compelled to write her letter to Shaw and express her appreciation for Mitchell.
Mitchell, when told of the letter about her, but until this publication has no idea who wrote it or what it stated, said, “I just love my babies. It’s true. I get up in the morning sometimes and I don’t feel my best; but I know that once my key hits the door to my kitchen and those babies start coming through that door everything is going to be ok.
“I have worked in the school system for over 30 years. I love it and the children who come through my line. They know I love them. They grow up, graduate and bring their children to see me.
“Last week a little boy noticed I didn’t look well and asked me how I was feeling. I told him I was not feeling well. The next morning he asked me again. I told him that I was better. He told me that he had said a prayer for me the night before. I told him that was very sweet of him and it really touched my heart how a young boy would think that much of me.”
The young boy in the lunchline is one example of the many people who look up to and out for Mitchell.
In September of 2005 she suffered a heart attack and needed a quadruple bypass. She returned to work in January of 2006 because she could not bear to be away from her children.
“My boss, Debbie Byrd, told me that I could count plates when I came to visit, until I could go back in the kitchen and work with my staff again. She let me continue to be part of the team. That is what we have now; we have a team.”
Shaw agreed, “Mrs. Mitchell has a heart as big as the world,” he said. “She loves these children and is very dedicated to this school, district and students. Because of this she has organized this department and it functions with her staff working with her instead of for her. They are truly a team and do a great job. All of this is a reflection on Mrs. Mitchell and our district is very blessed to have her.
In the ending of her letter to Shaw, Dauzat wrote:
“To have someone like Mildred in our school is such a blessing ... I hope she knows she is appreciated and how lucky I feel knowing she takes care of my baby.”